By Erika Rizkallah
“There are no second acts in American lives.” F. Scott Fitzgerald
According to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control an estimated 50 to 70 million American adults suffer from sleep deprivation.
I think the often debated quote by Fitzgerald explains part of the problem. By “second acts,” I don’t mean second chances. American life offers plenty of them. I’m talking about the stage of life in which the fruits of our labor finally pay off.
For example, I’m a stay at home mom. I’ve spent the last eighteen years diligently investing in my marriage, children and family life. At this time, the fruit of that labor isn’t always obvious – especially in the teen years. In reality, I may not see it until my third act of life when I’m a grandmother.
Maybe you know what this feels like. Maybe you’ve spent years investing in a career, education or hobby that’s produced more uncertainty than fruit.
What happens then? We can overcompensate and do and do and strive and spin in order to let everyone see we’re productive.
The church can also contribute to the exhaustion of its members.
I commonly hear church leaders say things like, “If you can picture what God wants to do through you, your vision is too small.” Or how about this one: “You’re not fully alive if you’re not serving on a team here at . . . ”
Well no wonder we can’t sleep!
How can I relax if I’m supposed to have an unrecognizable vision? If I’m not fully alive?
That can leave us fearful and worried that we’re missing out on our calling or the thing that will remain undone if we don’t “step up to the plate” or “step out in faith.” Instead of becoming leaders of world-changing overcomers we end up exhausted and burned out underachievers.
Fortunately, God has an antidote for this problem. It’s called the Sabbath, a.k.a. known as a weekly day of rest. This practice was instituted by God for His people and is the fourth of the laws known as The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-11). I love how it’s subtitled in my Bible in Exodus 23 as The Laws of Justice and Mercy.
This scripture explains why God made it a commandment: Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest and the slave born in your household, and the alien as well, may be refreshed. Exodus 23:12.
This law is a law of love to prevent the abuse of people and animals by and for the community.
It also puts us in our place: we’re God’s creation and find ourselves most satisfied when we love, walk and rest in him.
Personally, I love a good nap, a great cappuccino and taking pictures of the world around me.
How do you get rested and refreshed on the Sabbath?